Led for a second straight game by goals from defensemen, the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 Saturday night in PNC Arena to finish off a season sweep of the divisional rivals.
Brady Skjei and Jalen Chatfield did the scoring for Carolina, while Frederik Andersen was nearly perfect in his second game back from an injury that had held him out since the beginning of November.
The Canes followed up the historic win streak with a short skid to start the month of January, but it seems like things are once again pointed in the right direction for Carolina.
About last night:
Blue Line, Red Light
Defensemen want to have fun, too.
For the second game in a row, the Hurricanes got their scoring production from the blue liners, as both goals against the Penguins came from defensemen. Brady Skjei, who is having a career year scoring, got things started in the first period, with Jalen Chatfield scoring in his second straight game to bag the eventual game winner in the second period.
This comes off the heels of a 6-2 win over Columbus Thursday night, a game which featured five goals from Canes’ defensemen ruined only by the sixth goal of the game from Seth Jarvis.
And as a whole, Carolina’s blue liners are doing more than their share on the offensive end of the ice this week. On the season, the Canes have four blue liners already in double digits in points, with both Skjei and Brent Burns already past 20.
Through the course of the season, you’re going to need this. You’ve got to find different ways to score in the NHL, and as the Canes went on a little skid, the defensemen have stepped up to sound the horn of late.
Frederik Andersen had an all-time gaffe Saturday night, losing his shutout in a pretty remarkably bad way. If you haven’t seen it:
Welp. There goes Frederik Andersen's shutout bid.— Walt Ruff (@WaltRuff) January 15, 2023
Rickard Rakell will get credit for it and now we have a 2-1 game with 12:12 to go in regulation. pic.twitter.com/Ukbef7qzYb
It’s easy to poke fun at in hindsight though because the Hurricanes won the game and Andersen was fantastic otherwise.
In total, Andersen made 34 saves in the game, stopping every actual shot the Penguins threw his way. Pittsburgh had 30 scoring chances including 13 high-danger chances, but Andersen was up to the task the entire evening.
He was calm in goal. He made some very good saves to control the game. And after a decent but not remarkable first game back from injury Thursday night, Andersen reminded us all just what he is capable of Saturday night against the Penguins.
The return of Andersen, mixed with the skyrocketing stock of Pyotr Kochetkov, has to have the Hurricanes feeling great about where things stand between the pipes.
For the first time in franchise history, the Carolina Hurricanes have swept the season series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
With Saturday’s win, the Canes moved to 4-0-0 with no more games on the schedule against Pittsburgh. The Metro foe that for so long dominated the Canes, lost all four games by one goal, with all four coming in the last month and a half.
There’s been a shifting balance of force in the Metro for a few years, but a season sweep over the Pens has to feel sweet for Canes’ fans.